As part of our Leadership Club, here at The Leadership Coaches we caught up with inspirational leader Vicky Waters, Head of Talent, Career and Development at BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK, to find out what they are doing to support their people during this challenging time.
Coach Zoe Lewis discussed challenges, virtual support and advice with Vicky. Read the full interview below.
TLC; What’s the biggest challenge you are facing as a leader during this current situation?
VW; Our biggest challenge is in helping our people move to fully remote working. Many of our colleagues already work from home on a flexible basis, however, for others this has been a completely new concept.
TLC; What have you been doing to virtually support your team?
VW; We have a number of initiatives running to support this:
- We check in with, rather than check up on, our team members daily
- The first focus is always on our peoples’ wellbeing, then we focus on the tasks
- We have fun things too, such as dingbats quizzes, to keep up team morale
- We are running virtual training on how to access and use tools, such as Microsoft Teams
- We set realistic expectations, we are empowering people to work flexibly – designing their working day around their other home commitments
- We share articles such as how to work well remotely, sharing tips like:
o Getting dressed as opposed to spending the day in your PJs
o Separate spaces (where possible) for work home/play/rest
o Managing time and rest breaks
o Getting outdoors for the one walk a day where possible or even just getting outdoors for some fresh air
- We are also considering running some virtual learning for people based around their ‘Insights’ (psychometric model) preferences and how this can help them be their best when working remotely.
TLC; What are the main challenges your colleagues are experiencing?
VW; The main challenge of working remotely is staying connected and keeping the communication going as it would if people were in their office locations. Teams are having regular catch ups and these are mainly focussed on people and relationships.
We are also pro-active around mental health and wellbeing, we are members of Time to Change and reducing the stigma around mental health is important to us.
With this in mind, we know that the current situation is providing even more challenge to some peoples’ mental health, so we have reminded colleagues that we have over 20 Mental Health First Aiders available for support, we also have an Employee Assistance Programme available to all colleagues, as well as signposting the services of organisations like Mind and The Samaritans.
TLC; What is the one tip would you share about working remotely at this time?
VW; I think it’s a great time to embrace this as an unexpected opportunity, so I encourage people to try something new or old. I have rediscovered the joy of baking, others I know are trying new hobbies, activities and learning new skills.